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Mark E Smith's family disclose cause of death

Mark E Smith with the Fall in 2016.
Mark E Smith with the Fall in 2016. Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

Mark E Smith died of lung and kidney cancer, his family have disclosed. In a statement on the Fall’s website, Smith’s younger sisters Barbara, Suzanne and Caroline thanked family, friends and fans for the tribute to the punk frontman, who died on 24 January. They also paid tribute to the NHS and Smith’s partner, Pam.

“Mark fought a long and hard battle after his diagnosis of terminal lung and kidney cancer,” they wrote. “He took every treatment going, which could be brutal at times and left Mark with some horrible side effects. Mark was such a strong man [who] hated letting his fans down and tried to carry on regardless, against all advice.”

Smith continued to tour with the Fall during his illness, giving his final performance in Glasgow in November. Last year, they released their 32nd album, New Facts Emerge.

Smith formed the Fall in 1976 in Prestwich and was the only constant member of the band. He was known for his tempestuous relationship with bandmates: there were 66 different members over the years, with a third of them lasting less than a year. Smith famously once said: “If it’s me and yer granny on bongos, it’s the Fall.”

The vast number of tributes in response to Smith’s passing spoke to his musical, literary and spiritual influence on several generations of artists and thinkers. His ex-wife, Brix Smith Start, told the Guardian: “He shook up the snow globe every day of his life.” Rough Trade’s Geoff Travis, who signed the band in 1980, said: “He deserves to be celebrated for his genius use of language and for devising a method of delivery that was completely singular.”

This article titled "Mark E Smith's family disclose cause of death" was written by Laura Snapes, for The Guardian on Tuesday 13 February 2018 03.34pm


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